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The Major and Captain Costigan were old soldiers and accustomed to face the enemy, so we may presume that they retained their presence of mind perfectly : but the rest of the party assembled in Cos's sitting-room were, perhaps, a little furried at Pendennis's apparition. Miss Fotheringay's slow heart began to beat no doubt, for her cheek fiushed up with a great healthy blush, as Lieutenant Sir Derby Oaks looked at her with a scowl. The little crooked old man in the window-seat, who had been witnessing the fencing-match between the two gentlemen (whose stamping and jumping had been such as to cause him to give up all attempts to continue writing the theatre music, in the copying of which he had been engaged) looked up eagerly towards the new comer as the Major of the well-blacked boots entered the apartment, distributing the most graceful bows to everybody present.
“Me daughter — me friend, Mr. Bows — me gallant young pupil and friend, I may call 'um, Sir Derby Oaks," said Costigan, splendidly waving his hand, and pointing each of these individuals to the Major's attention. “In one moment, Meejor, I'm your humble servant," and to dash into the little adjoining chamber where he slept, to give a twist to his lank hair with his hair-brush (a wonderful and ancient piece), to tear off his old stock and put on a new one which Emily had constructed for him, and to assume a handsome clean collar, and the new coat which had been ordered upon the occasion of Miss Fotheringay's benefit, was with the still active Costigan the work of a minute.
After him Sir Derby entered, and presently emerged from the same apartment, where he also cased himself in his little shell-jacket, which fitted tightly upon the young officer's big person; and which he, and Miss Fotheringay, and poor Pen too, perhaps, admired prodigiously.
Meanwhile conversation was engaged in between the actress and the new comer; and the usual remarks about the weather had been interchanged before Costigan re-entered in his new "shoot," as he called it.
“I need n't apologoise to ye, Meejor," he said, in his richest and most courteous manner, " for receiving ye in me shirt-sleeves."
“An old soldier can't be better employed than in teaching a young one the use of his sword,” answered the Major, gallantly. “I remember in old times hearing that you could use yours pretty well, Captain Costigan."
“What, ye 've heard of Jack Costigan, Major," said the other, greatly.
The Major had, indeed; he had pumped his nephew concerning his new friend, the Irish officer; and said that he perfectly well recollected meeting Mr. Costigan, and hearing him sing at Sir Richard Strachan's table at Walcheren.
At this information, and the bland and cordial manner in which it was conveyed, Bows looked up, entirely puzzled. “But we will talk of these matters another committih another time," the Major continued, perhaps not wishing to commit himself; “it is to Miss Fotheringay